Dead woman walking

Hello dear CSI: Miami Maniacs! After having discussed the episode “Forced entry” last week, now let’s focus on the subsequent one featuring the problems accurate to the situation we have nowadays. What I mean is the episode “Dead woman walking” which shows a big problem with pollution and radioactive rubbish.

Dead Woman Walking – Plot summary

Junkie and small thief Carl Aspen’s corpse is found on the street, beside a syringe but not killed by an OD. During the autopsy, Horatio has to strike the alarm on account of an extremely fast-spreading hand-wound which he realizes must stem from nuclear radiation. Luckily even Delko, who spend most time exposed while examining the cash loot, is all right. The unsuspecting robbery victim, however, appears to have terminal contamination. It’s environmental lawsuits specialist Belle King. Her numerous enemies include George Risher’s isotopes firm, but things are more complicated then they seem.

Dead Woman Walking Trivia

Fun fact

  • The plot to this episode is not dissimilar to the Dennis Quaid-Meg Ryan movie D.O.A. (1988).


  • Horatio states that the Iodine 131 decays to normal Iodine (isotope 127). I-131 decays via beta radiation to Xenon 131 (a neutron converts to a proton and releases an electron). Xenon 131 is stable and a noble gas (doesn’t react). It would not be detectable with sulfur.
  • The half-life of Iodine 131 is 8.1 days. If the contents of the orange juice were enough to kill Belle in 5 days, in only 1-2 days after ingesting the lethal dose there would still be enough left on the orange juice to be considered extremely dangerous, and very easily detectable with radioactivity sensors.
  • If there’s a high-enough iodide concentration in orange juice to produce the thick cloud of iodine fumes after a single drop of sulfuric acid, this would also make the juice taste far too acrid and bitter to drink.
  • Having ingested so much Iodine 131 that it can kill a person in a few days from acute radiation sickness, Belle would not have been released to the public due to being radioactive enough to be a danger to people around her. The same applies for the initial victim, the mugger, and as such, they would not approach his contaminated hand like they do at the end of the episode.
  • Every aspect of how Iodine 131 is kept and transported is nonsense. It would not be kept in plastic syringes in a standard fridge; heavy lead shielding is needed to handle it safely but we see none; the ease with which the murderer got hold of the lethal amounts of I-131 shows that the safety measures were grossly inadequate and would have attracted much attention from regulatory authorities. Further, the murderer would be subjecting himself to very large amounts of radiation by handling I-131 in the manner that is shown.
  • Radioactive contamination does not make organic matter, like skin, evaporate into nothingness, even when being very powerful.

Wrap up

Despite many visible mistakes in this episode I consider “Dead woman walking” one of my favorites. I always liked the films about disasters caused by the changes in nature or inappropriate human actions. I think it is worth to talk about cases such as radioactive contamination because even if you don’t die, it doesn’t mean you are safe.
So now, as you have read the fun facts about the episode and the seriousness of radioactivity related issues, kindly share the post with friends.

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